June 21, 2021

The archbishopric of Barcelona helped flee a pederast priest in 1990 | Society

The archbishopric of Barcelona helped flee a pederast priest in 1990 | Society

Juan Jose Omella, archbishop of Barcelona, ​​the day of his appointment as cardinal in the Vatican, in June 2017. On video, this was the telephone conversation of EL PAÍS with the priest.

Jordi Ignasi Senabre, parish priest of Polinyá, in Barcelona, ​​disappeared after being accused of abusing a child under 13 in 1988, with a fiscal request of five years in prison and never heard from again. The Hearing of the Catalan capital called to him to declare in October of 1991 and did not appear. The archbishopric of Barcelona argued that he had left the country "of missions", but did not clarify anything else. There was no further news of his whereabouts until Senabre He was arrested in January 1994 in Uruguay, where he had entered with a tourist visa. Spain requested his extradition on March 4 of that year, but was denied in June. The South American country did not even answer, as confirmed by the Ministry of Justice. The priest was released and his clue was lost. Until today. EL PAÍS has located him in the diocese of Santo Domingo de los Colorados, in Ecuador. He was always there, and the archbishopric of Barcelona always knew: he was sent by the diocese itself in 1990 after sending a request by letter, as confirmed by the vicar general of Santo Domingo, Galo Robalino. Contacted by this newspaper, Sanabre has hung up knowing that it was a Spanish journalist: "You're wrong".

The vicar of the Ecuadorian diocese, in telephone conversation, shows his consternation and surprise at Senabre's background, which in some documents appears as "Sanabre". He has been retired for five years and has served as a priest in this town, 150 kilometers from Quito. "This news falls to my surprise, I hear it from you, I doubt very much that you informed us of your situation, I do not think the bishop of that time, Don Emilio Stehle, would have allowed it, but we are going to look at this priest's folder to see what is there, "he explains. Unlike most of the Spanish dioceses contacted in cases of abuse, this vicar collaborates without hesitation in clarifying what happened. Open the folder of Senabre file and find the letter sent by the bishopric of Barcelona, ​​dated 1990: "I confirm that here says nothing, nothing, of the complaint against him in Spain, is only the request that we welcome him" .

Barcelona changed archbishop just that year, in March 1990, with the departure of Narcís Jubany and the arrival of Ricard Maria Carles. Therefore, at least three bishops of the city since 1990, all of them cardinals -Carles, Lluis Martínez Sistach and the current one, Juan José Omella-, have known the whereabouts of this priest. The archbishopric of Barcelona has refused to clarify to this newspaper what were the circumstances of Senabre's flight and his actions in this case. There are many questions to answer: why he was allowed to leave the country with an open process, where he has been until now, why the authorities have not been informed of his whereabouts, why he has not opened a canonical process … The archbishopric has limited itself to respond with a phrase: "The ex-Jordi Senabre has an ongoing process in Rome reopened on June 16, 2016, in the line of zero tolerance manifested by the Holy See."

Sources of organs of Guardianship of Minors Vatican confirm that the Holy See has reviewed in recent years many old cases that had not been properly managed by the bishops, who had not advanced due to lack of testimonies or that were closed in false. Senabre is one of them. But given the state of the investigation, the Vatican's insistence on addressing it since 2016 has been ignored.

For its part, the diocese of Santo Domingo, in Ecuador, confirms that in 2016 it received a communication from the Vatican to report on Senabre. The bishop consulted three veteran priests of the place, whose opinion was positive, and sent the response to Rome. "But in these years we have not had a single contact from the archdiocese of Barcelona," says the vicar.

Senabre was sent in 1990 on mission fidei donum, formula of the dioceses to lend priests to other countries temporarily. Although they always remain incardinated in their bishopric of origin, which knows at all times where they are.

Sources of the Ministry of the Interior indicate that at the moment there is not an arrest warrant in force against this priest, because probably the process has not been kept open. The Audiencia de Barcelona is trying to confirm this, but as it is such an old case, the search for information takes time. In any case, it is most likely that the crime has prescribed.

The arrest in Uruguay of Senabre and its subsequent release are quite mysterious. The local press published at that time that the then archbishop of Montevideo, José Gottardi, had intervened to help him and even the diocese paid bail for his provisional release. Spokesmen of the diocese of Montevideo assure that their files do not contain any information, and can not confirm or deny anything. They only point out that the case could be managed in another diocese, that of Canelones, but this bishopric has not responded to this newspaper.

If you know of a case that has not been reported you can send it to us through the email address abusos@elpais.es


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